Kurtis is 14 years old. He loves music and video games, but he dreams of becoming a professional basketball player. When he’s not a school, you can find him on the court practicing with his AAU team, Texas Explosion!

“People flock to him, he has that unique quality. If you know him, you want to be with him. Even grownups take to him,” says his mom, Brandie. “I see leadership.” She describes Kurtis as animated, personable, and fun. Even when playing on-line video games, 12-year-old Kurtis breaks into song, dances, and even talks with a fake British accent. He loves basketball and plays on two different teams. His coaches say even after playing for less than two years, he is really going to be someone on the court. Kurtis stands out on the court for two reasons; first, he is really good at basketball and second, he has vitiligo.

Vitiligo is considered to be an autoimmune condition where the body destroys the pigment cells which causes white patches on the skin. It is typically a chronic condition that can significantly alter a person’s appearance. While there are treatments, they are often of limited effectiveness and there are no known cures.

Kurtis started developing light spots on his skin when he was just six months old. Until about the time he started kindergarten, the spots were only on his arms and legs, and could be covered with long sleeves and pants. Then they began appearing on his face.

“Kurtis taught me a lesson about covering them. He ran into school that first day, and we haven’t covered them since,” Brandie said. He was so excited to let his true self shine through. She said his outgoing personality helps him with other people’s stares and questions. Even if they don’t feel like they need to shield him from this, they also realize no child is immune to being hurt.

A Children’s House for the Soul offers a warm accepting place to learn ways to empower children and teens facing their own unique challenges. Kurtis and his family attended the “Love the Skin You’re In” conference, and he has been to Camp Dermadillo several times.

Brandie said when they woke up the morning of the conference they almost decided not to come, but wanted to see what it was all about. She is so glad they did. “It’s not as big a deal at conferences or camp, there are no mean looks or stares, there is a comfort level, without judgment,” she explained.

Even with his outgoing and entertaining personality, Kurtis doesn’t always know how to answer questions or respond to people staring at him, he just wants to be accepted and make friends. His mom knows he hears the questions and she tries to give him the tools necessary to respond. A Children’s House for the Soul can help.

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